So, fellow drivers, it’s been a while. Almost five months to the day, in fact, that I embarked on my very first driving lesson. Eleven hours later, I am currently one away from completing my Essential Driver Training course. Which of course means that I am quite the accomplished driver and the practical test will be merely a formality.
Driving is hard. Why don’t people discuss this more broadly? Are they repressing their own horrific memories? Is it a big secret conspiracy? Or am I just the world’s slowest learner?
Progress is certainly happening, but at a glacial pace. I still get into the car and silently mouth ‘clutch, engine, gear, handbrake.’ I constantly look down at the gearstick in panic, wondering if I have selected the right gear for my speed. I’m still getting beeped for being overly hesitant at roundabouts. Don’t even talk to me about cyclists.
In my defence, I have had no real practise outside my official lessons. Owing to the fact that S.O. drives a car with an actual horse for an engine, I have been deemed an undesirable candidate for insurance. I have only ever heard the term ‘undesirable candidate’ twice before in my life: one was from the Irish Blood Transfusion Service who were unwilling to take my blood if I was going to continue to rudely faint and the other was a particularly unpleasant experience in my teenage dating life.
When it comes to the big diesel car, they aren’t willing to take a risk on my ineptitude. Take a chance on me? Apparently, insurance companies do not respond well to ABBA methods of coercion. So now I have to consider the unthinkable: buying a car.
I have no interest in cars. Displeasing words such as timing belt and road tax are creeping into my vocabulary against my will. Do I look under the bonnet and kick the tyres of the car to pretend as if I know what the hell I am doing? If I’m honest, I only recognise cars by the colour. I admired one last week that was a splendid shade of berry. Make or model? No clue. Berry is my only concern.
My current dilemma is insurance quotes. To date, the best quote I have been offered is the very reasonable figure of €4,100. FOUR THOUSAND. I knew I was bad but I’m not Vin Diesel like. Clearly they think I am intending on detonating the vehicle, or abandoning it in the River Tiber, à la James Bond.
So it seems that the future is unclear for me and my prospective wheels. At this stage, I’m thinking of investing in one of those red and yellow Little Tikes models. Cheap investment and I’ll save on petrol by peddling the car with my own feet. Light a candle for me.